Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gift of Receiving (Number 40 in a series)

“In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (American Standard Version)

This verse is used so often to remind us to give, to share. Giving to someone else feels good; it fills us with warmth and joy. By giving, we share God’s blessings with someone else and give them an example of God’s love.

Have you ever considered receiving as a form of giving? When you receive, you give to someone else the opportunity to be a giver. This lesson has come home to me time after time. I feel uncomfortable ‘taking’ from someone, not matter how generous their intentions. A little guilt if I don’t have something to give back to them, a thought that someone else needs it (whatever ‘it’ may be) more than I do colors my appreciation sometimes.

Then the still small Voice I have come to recognize only too well reminds me that I have given someone the chance to be blessed by giving. It wasn’t about me; it was about them. My part was to be used by God to allow someone to obey His command, to allow them to experience the same joy I do when I am the one giving.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Have you been a gracious recipient, allowing someone to be blessed by giving? Or have you let pride get in the way of being a conduit of God’s blessing? Blessings go both ways, and we must be willing to part of God’s plan whichever way the blessing is going at the moment.

Father, thank You for giving us the blessing of giving and allowing us to be a blessing by receiving. Help us to be a gracious reflection of Your love in all circumstances.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frustration (Number 39 in a series)

“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD…” Psalm 120:1-2a (KJV)

My mother has good days and she has bad days. When she has a bad day, it means I will have a bad day as well. I love her dearly, but sometimes she exhausts me with her demands.

She is too cold, but the covers I put on her are too heavy.

She asks for water while I am balancing a measuring cup and her liquid medication, and gets upset when I stop to put down the cup and bottle to get her water.

She doesn’t like the clothes I picked out for her to wear, but gets angry and accuses me of being ‘mean’ to her when I suggest she pick out something she would prefer.

She is restless and goes from bed to chair to bed, up and down, a restless wraith haunting my soul with her discomfort.

Do I sound as though I’m whining? In a way, I am. I get frustrated with not being able to fix things for her, to make everything all right again. My frustration expresses itself in a ‘poor me pity party.’

Finally, I do what I should have done in the first place. I remember to turn it over to God. He feels Mama’s pain and restlessness. He knows my aggravation. He loves us both. When I ask, He calms my heart and gives me an added dose of patience to deal with Mama’s moods.

Do you have a source of frustration, a problem you can’t seem to solve? Cry out to Him. He will hear and help. Perhaps He will calm the storm, as He did for the disciples. Perhaps He will calm you.

Thank you, Father, for the peace You bring us. Help us to remember where to turn when the problems mount and aggravation grows. Thank you for loving us even when we are most unlovable. Thank you for hearing our call.

©2009 Mary Beth Magee